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Subject: Random musings over a much hyped space odyssey rss

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Joe Masinter
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I'm a new reviewer, and have only played Eclipse once. That being said, I thought the amazing amount of hyperbole surrounding the game merits a few
words. So yeah the theme is great, the components are great, I don't really care about that stuff though. Overall, the gameplay is quite good, with each additional action taxing your economy, tough decisions over which technologies to take, and plenty of tactical options. But you've already heard all the positive stuff people have to say about the game, and for the most part I agree. So here are my complaints, trying to make my own opinion instead of echo anything I've read on the forums here:

Random tiles suck. They are very important to the game and basically determine your strategy for you. So if you want to focus on science but draw production tiles you are pretty much s.o.l.

Player interaction on the other side of the table probably won't happen. Same problem with basically any other 4+ player tactical game. If there's basically no chance of interacting with the player on the other side of the map, why even play with that many people?

Lopsidedness - depending on other players to attack player x, etc. Our game had two experienced players and three noobs. One veteran completely trounced one of the noobs with his superior ships, basically eliminating him halfway through the game. The other veteran turtled up and had massive production, but the other noobs were too intimidated to attack him. So long story short, as with any other game of this genre, having weak neighbors will benefit the stronger players greatly.

Game length. I'm sure it will go down when everyone has played before, but the 5 player game took about 4.5 hours. Probably more could be done simultaneously to speed it up. Honestly the phasing is done pretty well so the downtime isn't that bad, just some people need to h.t.f.u. and keep their eyes open for when it is their turn.

To sum it up, those are my complaints and I'm sticking to em. If you don't agree, I won't argue with you, I am just a noob after all. Regardless, I did quite enjoy the game and will gladly play again.








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Carlos Alves
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I would agree with you, but this will not make me losing the respect for this game.

Not every 4x space games are perfect. Despise his flaws, the games is very good to play.
Let's hope that in the future, if the developers are thinking to improve this game with the next expansion.

I think every game should have a diferent gameplay, since this has competitive play, why not a coop-op version. Players vs Ancients.
 
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Joseph Cochran
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Thanks for the review! I'm not going to argue, but I do have two comments:

joeeoj010 wrote:
Random tiles suck. They are very important to the game and basically determine your strategy for you. So if you want to focus on science but draw production tiles you are pretty much s.o.l.


The random tiles make the tactical element of this game more important. You might have a strategy that you WANT to do, but what you MUST do is work with what you're given. Even with the mitigating factor of being able to reject a tile, you can get something you don't want. But personally, I love this: I want a game that makes me think on my feet.

joeeoj010 wrote:
Lopsidedness - depending on other players to attack player x, etc. Our game had two experienced players and three noobs. One veteran completely trounced one of the noobs with his superior ships, basically eliminating him halfway through the game. The other veteran turtled up and had massive production, but the other noobs were too intimidated to attack him. So long story short, as with any other game of this genre, having weak neighbors will benefit the stronger players greatly.


I agree, but I don't see that as a weakness. Games like this are at their best when equally-skilled foes come to the table, but that's really when competition is best at any level, be it games (Chess is a great example), sports, or other contests.

I'm glad you enjoyed the game overall, I have been really digging it too!
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Tery McAlister

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Most of what you've claimed to be bugs; I would call features. But to each his own.

Personally I don't think that a favorite pet strategy should always be 100% effective. This makes games stale and deterministic. I like games that require you to adapt your strategy to the situation.

Interaction may between all players may not have happened in your one game; but rest assured it can & does happen.

Veterans gamers *SHOULD* win against newer players. The alternative is that the game doesn't reward skill.

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Frizzled
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Hi Joe -

I'm nearly certain you're describing one of the two Eclipse games played last night at Games of Berkeley -if I'm wrong I'll just blank this post. If I'm right I'd like to offer the following (I was playing on the other table with three new players).

Quote:
Our game had two experienced players and three noobs. One veteran completely trounced one of the noobs with his superior ships ...


1 I was a little disappointed when I saw your game being setup: the two vets playing picked alien races and then gave the new players Terrans. This isn't supposed to happen, in games with new players everyone is supposed to be Terran -I believe the designer even posted to this effect. Aliens have built-in strategies that make them superior in certain areas, doubly so when playing against someone who has no idea what the weaknesses are.

Quote:
Random tiles suck. They are very important to the game and basically determine your strategy for you. So if you want to focus on science but draw production tiles you are pretty much s.o.l.


2 There are two ways to strategize tiles: you can take what's given to you and build your empire around that or pre-set your strategy then discard tiles that don't fit it. I believe during the teaching session discarding tiles was pooh-poohed but this is exactly what you need to do if you are looking for certain types of planets.

3 The other table last night was a very different game compared to yours. Everyone was Terran, the scores were 42, 28, 27, 27. With one of the new players taking first after abandoning the middle to secure an opponent's homeworld plus two other sectors. No one trounced anyone and (from what I saw) everyone really enjoyed themselves.

4 I'd offer that a lot of your experience last night was who you played with instead of what you played. Having vets breathing down your neck an entire game can really drain the fun out of an experience. I hope your next round of Eclipse goes more smoothly.
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Peter O
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Player interaction with the other side happens one of three ways.

1) The most obvious is through the Galactic core.
2) Talking with your neighbor to get them to attack. Give assurances, even minor territory. Build only starbases on their side and move your mobile forces away. They will more likely attack the problem player if they have a secure flank on your side.
3) Go over your neighbor. If your neighbor doesn't cooperate, move your ships through his territory anyway. Sure you lose diplomatic relations if you have them, but its not the end of the world.

Blaming other players when someone wins only prevents you from examining your own possible courses of actions.
 
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Lance McMillan
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joeeoj010 wrote:
I am just a noob after all.


Perhaps, but you're dead-on accurate in most of your observations -- don't sell yourself short.

'Eclipse' is a very good game, but there are enough minor quirks (most of which you astutely identified) that they'll keep it from being truly "great" in my book. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy it a lot and it'll definitely be hitting the table many times in the future, but the luck element is a bit too strong, there's not as much player interaction as there could be, there are some issues with balance, and it's certainly not as "fast playing" as many are claiming.
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Arthur Rutyna
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Fair enough first review. I can relate since our first game with 6 took 6 hours, and had similar experience with the Military Giant, the turtler, and the guy who got wiped out, me I'll play again. Hopefully I will avoid making the same mistakes, because I now understand the flow and pitfalls to avoid.
 
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Einmal ist keinmal
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Wow, it's just a game people. Who cares who wins? Remember the quote from good old Dr. Knizia?

So, she forgot a rule. It was your first play through of the Macao. Was she gloating that she won the game? I bet not. In most cases, the person teaching would feel bad for misremembering something like that. I have never experienced someone "conveniently" forgetting a rule like you say. If that is indeed the case, then that's unfortunate though.
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Joe Masinter
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Hehe, yup that was me sitting between two vets at the Berkeley game last night Hope I didn't offend anyone with the review let's play again next week!

Also: I don't think anyone realized that Terrans were at a disadvantage compared to the other races. One other rule that had to be looked up was that without neutron bombs, ships can still kill 2 population on a planet with a single hit if they have a 2+ damage weapon.
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Curt Carpenter
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joeeoj010 wrote:
Player interaction on the other side of the table probably won't happen. Same problem with basically any other 4+ player tactical game.

There are plenty of tactical 4p+ conflict-oriented games where everyone interacts with each other. Dominant Species and El Grande for starters. The difference is that in Eclipse, players can't co-exist at a particular location, and economic presence and defensive presence are completely separate, which leads to choke points, which leads to non-adjacent players fighting less than adjacent players.
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Daniel Hammond
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joeeoj010 wrote:
Hehe, yup that was me the noob sitting between two vets at the Berkeley game last night :) Hope I didn't offend anyone with the review ;) let's play again next week!


I wish you were in Houston, great attitude! I play for the love of the game, I try to make the game competitive for new players so they will want to play again. I hope you find a better group or at least know enough to destroy those whose strategy is "prey on the noobs".
 
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Dwarf Bashful the 6th
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I agree with you and actually appreciate the honesty.
There is tiny 'but', as I believe that there is very few games where more experience players are not wining with the less experienced one. soblue If any of you can give me an example, as I may be wrong - too many games in the world

I cannot agree with some opinions that the idea behind Eclipse and it's randomness eg in the hexes is, that you actually cannot do the strategy YOU WANT. So what the heck...I have a strategy and I cannot use it as everything is random..It's enough for me in the game if the players I play with are smart so winning is actually rewarding. Ah!

Don't get me wrong, I love the theme (though TI3 rulez still), but I love to win because of my strategy more. I will play Eclipse again for sure, as I cannot believe, that this is it..all. I will look for the second, hidden bottom, or another level. ninja
 
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Agent J
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Discarding tiles to mitigate luck is expensive. Taking crappy tiles can be even more expensive. It will probably take a while to figure out how bad the tile has to be before start pitching them, and I probably wouldn't pitch the first tile I pulled anyway just because there's still so much room if I end up needing something else. Keep in mind what each ring gives you - III, materials. II, Money. I, Research. On average. So you can really mitigate your luck with those tiles..
 
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Paul S
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I like much about this game, but it looks a) fiddly b) difficult to teach and c) long. Arguably all 3 points are facets of the same issue re: complexity. Together I fear these will keep it off my wishlist.
 
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Curt Carpenter
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Beloch wrote:
I like much about this game, but it looks a) fiddly b) difficult to teach and c) long. Arguably all 3 points are facets of the same issue re: complexity. Together I fear these will keep it off my wishlist.

THAT's what you're worried about??? If those are your only concerns, you can rest easy. It's none of those things. (Well, don't play with more than 4 players to stay clear of "long"). Ok, combat might be a little fiddly, but it registers pretty low on the fiddly scale for me. I suppose it's relative to whatever you're used to.
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Antti Autio
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curtc wrote:
Beloch wrote:
I like much about this game, but it looks a) fiddly b) difficult to teach and c) long. Arguably all 3 points are facets of the same issue re: complexity. Together I fear these will keep it off my wishlist.

THAT's what you're worried about??? If those are your only concerns, you can rest easy. It's none of those things. (Well, don't play with more than 4 players to stay clear of "long"). Ok, combat might be a little fiddly, but it registers pretty low on the fiddly scale for me. I suppose it's relative to whatever you're used to.

Agreed. The thing is, the game might easily look fiddly and intimidating because of the amount components, but it's what you do (and don't!) with those components that make the gameplay pretty fast, intuitive, easy to teach and learn and not fiddly at all. Well, fiddlier than Chess, sure, but definitely less than Agricola, Through the Ages or Twilight Imperium to make a few comparisons.
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Paul S
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Thanks for the thoughts. Guess it depends on what you're used to. I'm seeing lengths of 4.5 hours reported for 5p, and 30-45 minutes to teach - both beyond what I think my group would live with.

I can see the point about components, though - just looking at the AVRAW video review the number of cubes and stacks of chits looked serious; but if it plays well regardless, that isn't an issue.

One to try when I get the chance to play someone else's copy, I think.
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Antti Autio
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Beloch wrote:
Thanks for the thoughts. Guess it depends on what you're used to. I'm seeing lengths of 4.5 hours reported for 5p, and 30-45 minutes to teach - both beyond what I think my group would live with.

The game is easy to learn, but like most big games, it takes a bit of commitment to learn it properly before you can "just play it".

People generally get a hang of the basic gameplay really quickly in game #1, but it might take a few games before they start figuring out the strategies and how to play the odds and adapt your play. Many people get the (false) first impression that luck has major impact on the outcome (and in early games it certainly can affect it, but it doesn't need to be so - it's a matter of learning curve and managing your odds).

Once everyone knows the rules, 30-40 minutes per player is realistic, BUT learning games certainly might take up to 60 minutes per player. My suggestion is to try it as a three-player game first, so you can keep the duration down and don't need to worry about the Diplomacy rules. Three-player games are fast and usually pretty aggressive (although they also give each player somewhat more breathing room initially) and should give everyone a good idea of the mechanics. Next, you might try a four-player game to see how the Diplomacy options (potentially) change the dynamics.

Also - and I can't stress this enough - stick to playing all-Terrans for the first few games. There is absolutely no need (and it's potentially harmful to your game experience) to involve the Alien species in the mix before everyone knows the game rules and basic strategies well! They can be tricky to play and are not as adaptable as Terrans, so if you don't know what you're doing, you just put yourself at the mercy of luck.

Also, "experienced players take aliens, newbies take Terrans" is a mistake that leads to potentially chaotic and unrewarding experiences for the new players. I wouldn't recommend involving the alien species before each player has played at least one three-player and one four-player game with everyone playing Terrans.

Beloch wrote:
I can see the point about components, though - just looking at the AVRAW video review the number of cubes and stacks of chits looked serious; but if it plays well regardless, that isn't an issue.

There are plenty of components, but you rarely need to move them, especially not back and forth, and you almost never need to count anything - the game does all that for you. It isn't easy to explain, but playing it will most likely give you that "A-ha!" experience.

Beloch wrote:
One to try when I get the chance to play someone else's copy, I think.

I definitely recommend it!
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Paul S
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Useful ideas - thanks. Now looking forward to trying it.

Must... keep... wallet... away...
 
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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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How am I supposed to comment on Eclipse posts when Antti Autio says what I am thinking before me, everytime. cry
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John McLintock
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Vanish wrote:
How am I supposed to comment on Eclipse posts when Antti Autio says what I am thinking before me, everytime. cry

Figure out the time difference and post when he's asleep?
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